A Spanish tradition, tapas is considered one of the most typical ways of eating in Spain. Not only because it’s affordable and you can try several different dishes, but because we can think of no better way to socialise with friends. Here’s where to find some of the best tapas bars in Palma de Mallorca.
But first, a bit of history. The popular story is the nickname “tapa” arose when the Catholic Monarchs, visiting Cádiz, stopped on the road from the Island of León (now San Fernando). In the tavern where they stopped, there was an exaggerated number of flies. For this reason, Ferdinand II of Aragon requested that his glass of wine be covered. The innkeepe covered the wine glass with a piece of cheese and said, “Here has its lid, majesty.” This quickly became a habit in Spanish taverns, especially in summer, since the warm climate favoured the appearance of flies in a time when hygiene was poor.
Tapas is a way of eating the food, not the dish itself, as many tend to believe. Normally tapa is a small portion of food. When it comes to Spanish food, make sure you don’t confuse tapa with the term pincho. They seem to be the same, but they’re not! While tapa is a small portion of any kind of food, pinchos are always served on top of a piece of bread and usually with a stick, to keep everything on top of the bread and not fall off your plate.
You also need to know that a real local will always accompany those tasty portions with a good glass of wine, or a caña (beer). Or they’ll pair it with other drinks, such as homemade vermouth, tinto de verano (a mix of wine and lemon soda with ice) or even pomada, a typical local beverage of Xoriguer, a Minorca gin, and lemon juice. If you want to eat tapas with a Majorcan wine, try Dos Marias, A prop, Macià Batle, AN2, Piedra Papel y Tijeras or Supernova.
Here’s where to find some of the best tapas bars in Palma de Mallorca.
In Palma, you will find plenty of places to enjoy tapas and ración, but if you want a real experience, you’ll need to go to the Sa Gerreria neighbourhood. This area, out of the touristic mass, is where you’ll find plenty of bars that offer great tapas and pinchos, such as Spanish tortilla, jamón Ibérico croquettes, and several types of Spanish and Majorcan sausages and calamari.
Don’t miss the Ruta Martiana. On Tuesday nights, most of the bars in Sa Gerreria offer a special offer consisting of one pincho and zurito (flat glass) that costs less than 3 euros. The term “Martiana” comes from “Martes” (meaning Tuesday) and also makes reference to Martians. Therefore, you’ll find a special plate with a Martian drawing in every bar.
One of our favourite places along Ruta Martina is the mythical Molta Barra bar. There you will find a great variety of pinchos, tapas and raciones in a modern environment. Try the fried camembert with jam, a ración of jamón Ibérico, or if you prefer a vegan option, try the pimientos del padrón (fried green peppers). But be careful. We have an idiom that says, “Pimientos del padrón, some are spicy and some are not.”
In recent years, the Santa Catalina neighbourhood has become one of the post popular areas both for visitors and locals. Santa Catalina is close to fashionable nightclubs and also to the Paseo Marítimo (seafront promenade). You might not find tapas themselves but you will find many restaurants with a cosy atmosphere, perfect for a romantic evening.
Try visiting the Santa Catalina market during the day. The market might be crowded on weekends, but here you can buy fresh fish and seafood, and take it to the Bar el Mercat, located in the market area. Here, for an affordable price, you can get your shopping cooked and served, almost direct from the sea! They also can prepare any kind of meat and vegetables if you’re not a fan of seafood.
If you wish to try Galician food, we recommend La Casa Gallega. They offer a daily menu for a good price, consisting of appetiser, main course and dessert. Or you can have some pinchos at the bar while enjoying a glass of Albariño wine. Remember to make your reservation in advance as it’s usually busy. At La Casa Gallega, try the Pulpo a Feira, the most well-known exquisiteness from Galicia that consists in octopus legs, previously boiled, and served on a wooden plate with olive oil, paprika and coarse salt. Simple, but delicious!
Close to La Casa Gallega is Blanquerna Street, which has been converted into a pedestrian street, and filled with restaurants enjoyed by locals. In one of the corners, you’ll find a cosy place called la Sibil·la. It offers a series of Mediterranean dishes that are both creative and traditional, using original recipes and good quality products. For those who love ending dinner with something sweet, the tapas bar offers a few desserts made with loving care. Cheese lovers should try the cheesecake and chocolate cake with nuts. Exquisite!